With trust in the Prime Minister low right now but high for the state premiers dealing with bushfires, why would he announce a Royal Commission without talking with them?
The answer is that he is more interested in a media story on his newfound leadership than he is in listening. A Royal Commission is easy enough to announce but is it necessary given the states are doing their own reviews?
The Premiers must be furious but they are between a rock and a hard place. None wants to refuse the bucketloads of money being thrown around by the PM or turn down ADF assistance.
At least Australians know what’s authentic and what’s trumped up, in this case, to look like the Federal Government is in charge.
Federal Science Minister, Karen Andrews admits on ABC radio that today’s roundtable of ‘top scientists’ is a first but claims it will thrash out a response to bushfires and strategies to build resilience. Maybe but this talkfest doesn’t appear to involve the states who are currently shouldering the responsibility.
She suggested on ABC radio this morning that people take photos of ‘excessive undergrowth’ and send them to the CSIRO. So much for the science!
The Bushfire & Natural Hazards CRC suggests a ‘National conversation’ and reminds us that Australia has had 100 inquiries into fire management in the last 35 years generating hundreds of recommendations, many of which have significantly changed practice and undoubtedly saved lives, others perhaps too hard to do. But we now need to build on what’s been done and fund research into what we don’t know.
The BNHCRC calls for new research, new investment and, importantly, new commitment. Let’s hope they get that ‘quantum shift in thinking’ today but don’t hold your breath…